So today is World Kidney awareness day. It occurs every second Thursday in the month of March. This year it falls on Women’s day (in Cameroon). Even better as many more women get affected than men by kidney problems.
So why much attention on the kidney?
Today our focus will be on how to keep our kidneys healthy so as to prevent diseases. We have 2 kidneys and they have the shape of beans and they are located in the lower part of the abdomen.
The kidney is a small yet very important part of the body. In every home, for you to live comfortably, places have to be kept clean. So is our body…what keeps inner body clean is our kidneys. It acts like a filter of the blood by removing any toxins or waste material found in it.
This is where some medicines are also eliminated. It also produces urine. Now imagine this organ failing to work properly…many things can go wrong and the body can shut down.
We have 2 kidneys meaning if one fails, the other can do the work. It may likely get overloaded but can still work well.
However when the 2 fail, you are in for real trouble…you may have to use a machine to help purify your blood (hemodialysis) and believe me it is costly.
In Cameroon it is done only in Regional hospitals and is subsidized by the government to cost about 5000frs per session and you need like 3-4 sessions weekly lasting about 4 hours each…
If you are fortunate you can get another person’s kidney to replace yours (transplant)
Tips to keep your kidneys in check
Sure we do not want to have to reach that stage…so here are a few tips to keep your kidneys health
1. Regular medical checkups for kidney function
Every 3-6 months. Especially if you are at risk (more likely to have kidney problems), as in the case of:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure in the family
NB: It is best to have the same doctor follow you up regularly so that he knows your file personally.
Hydrate yourself properly, drinking at least 2L of water everyday helps the kidney clear of toxins found in the body.
3. Avoid risk factors
Prevent the risk factors like diabetes, hypertension and obesity by:
- Eating healthy: less salty and canned foods …not easy but worth it. Eat lots of fruits and veggies
- Regular exercise..e.g.30mins power walk at least 3 times a week
- Quit Smoking as it increases the risk of diabetes and hypertension
4. Cut down on herbal medicinal products
Usually very harsh though natural and given at unknown doses. Some also cause bad effects on the kidneys when combined with normal drugs.
5. Avoid over medication
Taking many drugs at the same time especially when you do not need to is not advisable…prolonged use of medicines like ibuprofen etc can speed up kidney failure.
Hope we have learnt a thing or 2 to keep our kidneys safe!
Happy women’s day, world kidney day ?
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About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.